Loyiso Mkize

Loyiso Mkize is a South African-born visual artist. He studied at the Cape Penisula University of Technology (CPUT) in Cape Town, South Africa where he obtained his diploma  qualification in graphic design in 2009.

Before devoting himself to his own company, Loyiso Mkize Art (Pty) Ltd  and fine art full time, Mkize worked as a head illustrator of the popular soccer comic book, Supa Strikas Srika entertainment, a character based entertainment company whose clients include, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), ADT, African Bank, Nation Roads Agency, Caltex, Anglo-American and Umbra, to name a few

In 2015, he founded his own visual arts and communication company Loyiso Mkize Art (Pty) Ltd which publishes the energetic South African superhero comic book, KWEZI. His company aimed to create proudly South African entertainment products and communications solutions. KWEZI is South Africa’s first superhero comic book series.

The comic book quickly rose to popularity with new episodes being published in steady succession. The obvious remedy to meet with the demand as well as extend availability nationwide would be to partner with David Phillip publishers. From June 2016 KWEZI then went on to be published at all Exclusive Books stores and Bargain Books stores nationwide. The partnership has published two KWEZI collectors editions thus far enjoying regularly best-seller status in some prominent stores.

His company subsequently developed projects such as the Earth day campaign commissioned by 702  and Cape Talk FM in 2014. The company later developed an Entrepreneurship awareness comic book titled, Young Hustla for and entrepreneurial training and facilitating company. Most notable was the anti-bullying comic book commissioned by the American comic book company, Archie comics which was developed and published in the USA in late 2015. His company has grown in leaps and bounds expanding the team’s expertise into animation. A natural progression from comic book production, Mkize along with his growing team, endeavour to continue their successful trajectory and make South Africas first superhero cartoon series.

Loyiso’s painting career began officially in 2009. Having discovered late in his life that he had a passion for portrait painting this artistic expression has grown over the years with great success. Painting has become a tool that he uses to document and express views and ideas. He paints with oil paint on canvass. His subjects, generally African, explores the complex nature that makes up this modern man, his environment, predisposition and culture. Mkize focuses on the emotion, emphasising brush strokes on skin texture and the eyes. Finding the subject’s spirit and communicating that through the medium is an effort that he has found his voice in.

Mkize has had a number of solo exhibitions including  Reflections of Inner Truth  at The Framery Art Gallery  (2011); Pulse  at the Avital Lang Gallery  (Cape Town: 2012);  Reflections eternal  at the Yiull Damaso studio and gallery  (Johannesburg: 2013); Reflections  at the Eyethu Gallery  (Johannesburg: 2015); and Black Magic  at the Eclectica Contemporary  (Cape Town: 2017). Alongside these solo exhibitions, Mkize has featured in the FNB Art Fair  (Johannesburg: 2015) and That Art Fair  (Cape Town: 2016). He has also featured group exhibitions in New York and the Goree Island of Dakar Senegal (Dakar: 2016).

Mkize has also been commissioned to create nine artworks for the Hollywood crime thriller, Momentum  directed by Stephen Campanelli and starring Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman and James Purefoy. Mkize has also been involved in different organizations and foundations using his talent. He was commissioned by the Rotary Club of Sea Point to paint a massive Nelson Mandela portrait which was later successfully auctioned in the Leeuwenhof Premier Residence in Cape Town.

Mkize was commissioned by the Out of Africa Foundation in 2013, to paint a big portrait of Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, the unveiling of which was attended by the Archbishop himself and family. The artwork is regularly hung in numerous locations in Cape Town including the airport as a beacon of cancer awareness. In 2012, Mkize was the brand  ambassador for Knights whisky and was involved in their Authentic South Africans campaign. In 2017, his painting, Gqama Ntyatyambo  was nominated for the Design Indaba “Most beautiful object in South Africa” award.

His ability to create visual art throughout the varied arenas he participates in carries with it an intention to communicate ideas that he finds most important in his life, the most prominent being the preserving the African identity. His life work embodies the message of self-awareness, acknowledgement, strength and radical presence. It’s in this spirit that he hopes his work can perhaps create a platform in which we can all communicate freely.

Loyiso Mkize’s work is featured in the Zeitz MOCAA exhibition,  Still Here Tomorrow To High Five You Yesterday (2019).